Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday

I have about a jillion things on my mind today, but I'm going to save them for later.

Today is about Easter.

I love holidays. That's not news.  However, I treasure Easter for a great many reasons. The food is always wonderful. My mom is a maverick in the kitchen; her cooking is always good and her baking even better. Dinner's good, dessert's great, every single day. 

The day always seems a little slower than most Sundays as well. There's the requisite Easter basket hunt before church, followed by a good breakfast and a hot, slow shower. Church passes and is followed by a nap and a big dinner with family.  We retire outside for a some conversation and, if my nieces and nephews are around, an Easter egg hunt. Finally, we watch an uplifting movie, a musical, or reruns of Music and the Spoken Word and then it's bedtime.

But foremost, Easter is a time of rebirth. I love this time of year anyway, watching the tulips and violets and lilacs bloom around my parents' garden.  Seeing the grass wake up and watching the trees' new leaves pop from tiny buds is the perfect backdrop to that ultimate rebirth, the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

So said the angel to Mary Magdalene and Mary of Cleopas, "He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come see the place where the Lord lay."  As Jesus promised, His terrible, yet vital Atonement was followed in just three days' time by the peace of His resurrection.

Last year, I wrote in my journal about an experience I had performing in the choir during BYU-Idaho's production of Savior of the World. The characters Mary Magdalene and Mother Mary sing a song in Act II wherein they shout alleluias of praise and joy for the Savior's resurrection. Here are my favorite lyrics:

Angels brought the joyful tidings,
Fear not, Christ is risen this day.
Heaven came down to tend his body.
Why I grieved I cannot say.

Why do we grieve?  Why?  Mary Magdalene grieved following the Savior's death and then was perhaps sheepishly reminded that He promised to return three days hence. It's the same for us. We have been promised that as we enact that marvelous, enabling power of the Atonement in our lives, we will be returned a zillionfold everything we sacrifice in the name of discipleship.  That is a promise, a binding covenant the Lord makes with us when we enter at the gate.  And, for those with the faith enough to believe, the Lord has a great track record of keeping His promises.  And yet, we doubt. We wonder and fall and think that there's no way it could possibly be worth it. We grieve the loss of our spiritual well-being and yet do little to regain it.

I also acknowledge that grief is a necessary part of being human and recovering from sad events. It's unrealistic and unjustifiable to expect followers to wander around in a borderline-medicated joyous stupor even in the face of hardship.  

I also am intimately aware that I have fallen (and continue to fall) victim to that soul-sucking despair to which I alluded earlier.  But this life need not be sad.  Our sorrows will come and go, but they can be punctuated with that hope that everything will turn out alright in the end. Our hardships and heartaches, if viewed within the proper perspective, can be invaluable sources of strength, not only in this life, but in the life to come as well.  And all will be restored to us.  The Lord won't leave us wanting because we followed Him.

Happy Easter.  Christ was risen this day and the literally earth-shattering ramifications of that miraculous event continue to be felt today.  We can "press forward... having a perfect brightness of hope" that as we obey and love and serve our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ, we will receive of their glory.  I testify that He is risen and continues to advocate for us and lift us as often as we will ask him.  I love Him, He loves you, and I love you too.  

As always, if you need support, love, a shoulder to cry on, or a punching bag to abuse, e-mail me.  Address in sidebar.

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